Letter Of The Month

Riding And Flying

I enjoyed the guest column by Marc Teatum in the July edition of American Motorcyclist, for I, too, am a pilot and a motorcyclist. I flew Blackhawk helicopters during my 21-year Army career and have been riding motorcycles for almost 54 years now.

During all my years of riding and flying I cannot even count the number of pilots I’ve met who rode or the motorcyclists I’ve met who flew. If you wanted to see the cool motorcycles on an Army post, just go out to the airfield and check out the hangar parking lot.

In my retired life, I’ve worked part time at my local airport. Numerous pilots there also have a motorcycle tucked away in their hangar with their airplane. Three of my best riding buddies are pilots. My son is a pilot and also a rider.

If you don’t ride, it’s hard to explain to you the thrill of riding. If you don’t fly, it’s hard to explain the thrill of flying. I think there is just something in the genes of those of us who ride that also makes us want to fly.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time trying to figure it out. I’ll just enjoy that gene, or whatever it is, that has enabled me and many others to add so much fun, excitement, thrills, and friendships,  to our lives on this earth—and above this earth.

Floyd Hoffman | Bourbonnais, Ill


Fuel Math

The letter from Al Holtsberry in the August issue reporting a difference of 25 percent in fuel economy from the use of E0 fuel cries out for explanation. A 10 percent ethanol blend cannot remotely account for a reduction in fuel economy of 25 percent. EPA estimates 2 to 3 percent reduction in economy from the use of 10 percent ethanol, matching calculations doable by any high-school student based on published energy content available on the net.

So what can account for a 25 percent improvement from using no-ethanol gasoline? Stop-and-go driving versus. steady speed, how much speed, wind direction and speed, temperature of fuel when dispensed, elevation gain or loss, absolute elevation, energy content of the feedstock, relative humidity, barometric pressure, air temperature, summer versus. winter formulation. An automotive engineer would be able to add to the list.

The last six months or so of records for my 2000 Bandit show mileage from a low of 42 to a high of 55. Performance of 55 mpg is a 31 percent improvement over 42. All fuel used was E10. I may agree with Al that E10 fuel is a boondoggle, but it isn’t because it reduces fuel mileage by 25 percent.

Steve Munden | Westborough, Mass.

Life Member Passes

I’m writing to let you know about the passing of my father, Tom Taylor, an AMA Life Member, on July 24, 2019.

My father raced in AMA-sanctioned scrambles regularly in the 1970s and rode street bikes for more than 50 years. An excellent, careful rider out enjoying a beautiful ride with his Concours Owners Group buddies in Pennsylvania, he hit a 97-foot length of gravel covering the width of the road in Potter County. He straightened out from the gravel but couldn’t make the sharp left turn.

Dad loved riding and supported the AMA. At 80, he was still riding cross-country and recording his trips across 46 states on a map in the garage. He died doing something he loved, but he wouldn’t have died then if the roads had been maintained properly.

Be safe, riders.

Kathleen Taylor | Potter County, Pa.

Mile Maker

I bought my 2017 Ultra Classic LTD on March 18, 2017, and the mileage is now 143,328. I took solo trips to Alaska in 2017 and 2018, and Canada in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

I lost my wife in 2016. She was my constant riding companion to the tune of 203,000 miles sitting behind me on two wheels for 15 years.

I bought a new bike, had her nickname put on the batwing fairing, and she is the angel on my shoulder.

I have decided my mission in life is to ride, take pictures and convince others to see the world on a motorcycle. To accomplish this, I started a Facebook page open to the public under John Black, Poteau, Okla., and I have posted pictures of all my trips and daily activities in between the trips.

At the age of 72, I thought this would be a way of saying thank you for all the great thrills and excitement of riding a motorcycle for 61 years.

John Black | Huntsville, Ark.